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Captain! We need more power!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by capnjagg, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Here's the dilemma: I was at practice last week and realized that I need something louder. Well, not just that, I need something that doesn't get lost in the mix. I'm currently running an SWR WorkingMan's 2004 through an 8ohm GK BLX 115. I had to push the head to hear myself, and when it was pushed it just got lost in the mix. Now, it didn't help that my guitarist had a boost pedal on, which I had him turn off, and even had him turn down a bit, but this isn't the only time I've had this problem. Playing with two guitarists and a drummer playing not so loud, I run into the same problem. So, now I want to do something about it.

    I'd love and appreciate any help and suggestions you guys can offer. My budget is about $250, maybe a bit more, and in that range I'm looking at more used than new, but I'm open to anything. I've noticed old Peavey heads and the GK 400RB run for pretty good prices used (I dig the tones of both brands), but power ratings have me a bit worried. So, send me some suggestions!
  2. Put cab up on a box.

    Trim your lows.

    Own the corner for your cab, you'll probably have to turn down your lows some more.

    Get guitarists to point their cabs at their own ears.

    For gigging you may need another BLX115 to get your point across, but not at rehearsals.
  3. oerk


    Oct 16, 2009
    Most likely, it doesn't have anything to do with the wattage of your amp. How is everyone located? Does the cab fire at your head, or your knees?

    There are several solutions to this - setting the cab up at the opposite side of the room, pointing at you, placing it higher or setting it up at an angle. Anything to make it point at your ears.

    Doing the same might not be a bad idea for your guitarists either.
  4. That head running a single 15 will definitely not be enough for your situation, add to that the inherent scooped tone of the SWR and you are lost in the mix from the start.

    I would suggest at least 300watts and a 410 as the best starting place. Wattage doesn't give you volume, speakers give you volume, you just need enough wattage to run the number of speakers you have optimally.

    I ran the Workingman 15 which is essentially the same setup you have in a similar kind of band. the SWR enhance past 12 o'clock starts cutting mids further - read losing you volume. I ended up blowing my speaker, and getting an extra 15" extension which worked better
  5. I played a single 15 for years. SWR amps have EQ knobs too. They are pretty rare here. I only played on one once as far as I can recall, it went well.
  6. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I gigged a 1x15 with a SWR SM400 for years in a loud 3-piece rock band.
    The speaker had a 400 watt rating and the amp 400 watts RMS output

    Your idea of a used Peavey or GK are good although I would think that you are better off with something more powerful than the 400 RB.
  7. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    A second matching 8 ohm 15" cab with your existing head should sound a good bit louder than a bigger head with the existing cab alone. That cab can only get so loud (or blow) even with more power.
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yes a 2nd 1x15 would give you a 6dB increase, and that's alot. I'd actually suggest you ditch the Backline 115 and find a good used 4 ohm 215 instead. Old Mesa Deisel cabs are easy to find, and fairly cheap.
  9. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    amp is fine, you need more cabs/speaker cone area! :cool:
  10. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    SWRs have some built-in scoop in their tone that I really really hate. That GK BLX 1x15 is (no offense) not going to cut in nearly any full band situation with any kind of style.

    The GK head and peavey sound like a good option for heads, but make sure you get a good cabinet too. You could put an amazing head on a P.O.S. cab and it will sound like crap AND get lost in the mix.

    + 1

    This will help far more than you think. Also, mind your EQ....scooping will make you all but impossible to hear in the mix unless you are slapping.
  11. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    Yeah for rawk, SWR isn't where I'd go. I had a KILLER Black Beauty 115 years ago, and in a country setting not against blaring OD or just at home or recording, it was sweet as pie, but anything besides that it just got totally lost.
  12. It's definitely not me scooping the mids. I love mids too much to do that to my tone. :D But I'll definitely look into getting another cab. I need to work on getting my car fixed too, so I can fit all of my gear without cramming it into my friend's little hatchback on those days I can't use my mom's van. Thanks for all the help guys!
  13. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Could be that you and the gui****s are sharing some of the same frequency space.

    What kind of music are you playing?
  14. It's sort of garage/blues rock. It's not something I'm used to playing, but it's fun.
  15. Trek fan here. hmm most illogical. It's really "Scotty, I need more power" :eyebrow:

    Sorry, I tried to resist but I couldn't :bawl:
  16. vickde


    Jul 23, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I have an SWR Workingman 2004. The pre has a huge scoop at 200, so it sounds like it has a lot less power than it has and gets lost in the mix. Once I figured that out (there are frequency charts for the SWR pre here on TB someplace), I got it so I could do small gigs with it. Leftover from the last time I gigged it, the Gain is at 3 o'clock, the Aural Enhancer at 1 o'clock (where it's still adding gain and not contributing more mid scoop), the midrange level at 3 o'clock, frequency at 10 o'clock (higher than where the pre scoop is, but that's where it sounded best), bass at 2 o'clock, treble and transparency rolled off to taste. Those settings made it seem much louder, even usable, to me.
  17. I'll second another cab, if its not been said already. Stepping into the way back machine, I rocked a 400rb through the late eighties and well into the mid nineties with an Ampeg fridge against the onslaught of dual Marshall stacks, pointed head stocks with dual humbuckes and a heavy handed drummers with no problems. I think looking back the speaker area is what made that 200 watt amp shine.
    I'm not exaggerating at all because I remember my ears ringing after we played every time. That rig was loud!

    Then I grew up and realized that I could achieve my tone goals at a much lower volume through playing with more mature players, that knew how to turn down.

    Don't get me wrong, there's nothing like unleashing the fury of a high powered amp with the speakers to back it up! I do miss the days where the big rig was the thing. I still have a big rig. It stays home most of the time.

    A-add a better more efficient cab to your amp. ( keep an eye out on CL as 810's pop up cheap all the time).
    B- turn down and learn how dynamics work.

    It sucks when you learn that some of your hearing is gone and you can't hear the notes as well as you used to. Trust me.
  18. 5 Wire

    5 Wire

    Feb 1, 2013
    I agree with not enough cone. If it's loud that 115 can't keep up. Add a 212 and smile when they ask you to turn down.

    jlepre has a good point about frequencies. I have played with guitarists who steal tone. Most of the time you can EQ your way out - if you're lucky they will work with you.
  19. BLX cabs are not known for being a mid present cab and to add to that don't make the best of the wattage put into them.
    A good 212 will blow the doors off the BLX115, two good 115 cabs even better. You need cabs that will fight the mid scoop of the SWR.
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    and of course try to avoid mixing cab types, unless you're adding on a cab that you like better, with the ultimate goal of ditching the original cab for another of the preferred cabs.

    the mismatch typically won't be as good as two good matched boxes, but it will be better than the one cab that's currently not cutting it by itself.

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